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Objective: Waiting time is a resource investment by the patient for the desired goal of being attended to by the physician. It is the time taken or spent in waiting to be attended to by a physician in a health facility. It is important because waiting time is an essential determinant of patient satisfaction in health care practice, and its study would expose the bottleneck areas in patient’s time-flow so that the facility can improve services with that regard.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study of time spent by paediatric patients in the outpatient department of Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki by secretly following the patients from arrival at CHOP till after consultation. Means were calculated of time spent in various areas.
Results: Of the 384 patients observed, the mean (SD) total time spent in the hospital was 142.58 (23.17) minutes while waiting time and consultation time were 113.15(18.01) and 24.43 (10.38) minutes respectively. The mean time spent at the nurse’s bay was 23.79 (6.47) minutes, while that spent at the queue was 22.94 (8.98) minutes. The time spent at the records unit was the highest, with a mean time of 47.2 (17.42) minutes.
Conclusion: The long waiting time obtained from the current study is mostly attributable to delays from the records/registration unit, therefore conceited efforts aimed at improvement of service delivery in this unit will reduce patient waiting time and invariably patient satisfaction.
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